[EDITORIALS]Time to come cleanThe National Election Commission proposes that the presidential election in December be publicly managed. It also suggests that large and expensive rallies by both parties be abandoned and replaced by more frequent television debates that will give voters a better chance to evaluate the candidates and their campaign promises.
Another detail of the commission's proposal includes requiring that donations that exceed 1 million won ($830) to be given in checks only. The commission has given a well-rounded proposal to how to cut costs on elections. Now it is up to the government and parties to come up with a concrete plan of their own in response.
The purpose of a publicly managed election is to let the candidates concentrate in a clean and fair election without having to worry about the costs. In return for the government providing the funds, the candidates would be asked to reduce the amount of private donations they receive and to make the paths of these donations more transparent. The problem of a publicly managed election is that while the politicians welcome the idea of it, they are more than happy to let it remain an idea. It will take more than just ideas to get politicians to reveal all their fund sources and donators. A vivid example of this is how all the parties have given their voices in unison for once to oppose a law to allow the tracking of bank transactions for prevention of election fund laundering. It looks highly doubtful to the people that the politicians are going to accept this proposal from the National Election Commission. More worrisome is the concern that politicians are going to take advantage of government-provided funds while scooping up murky donations behind the people's backs.
The commission proposes to put an end to this circle of evil. It even suggests as one possible way of breaking away from high-cost elections to abolish the central party headquarters. The problem is that in reality, this would be much harder than it sounds. The times call for reform and a corruption-free election. Candidates should lead the way in solving these problems.